The European Decorative Arts Company carries an outstanding collection of objects made in rock crystals and other hardstones and examples of important makers such as Hermann Ratzersdorfer, Hermann Bohm, Charles Duron, Jean Valentin Morel.
From the time of their inception, these objects were meant to be cherished for the materials that were employed in their production and for the skilled manner in which they were crafted. The fact that these items, as fragile and vulnerable as they are, have survived in their present condition with minimal damage, is testament to how greatly they were valued over the years by their temporary custodians.
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Tazza Attributed to Charles Duron (1814-72), Circa 1870
Bloodstone with enamelled gold mounts
h 6.25 " w 6.875 "
Unmarked Height 16 cm, Width 17.5cm
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Although unmarked, this fine tazza is of the highest quality and falls within a small group of objects known to have been produced by Charles Duron, one of the leading goldsmiths working in Paris in the mid-19th century. Inspired by the renaissance gold-mounted hardstone vessels made in France and Italy and installed in the Galerie d’Apollon at the Louvre Museum, Duron designed and manufactured these objets d’art using the best materials available, combined with very accomplished enamelling techniques, which matched, or even surpassed, the 16th and 17th century prototypes that inspired them. This tazza is not a copy of any known piece and displays design elements which are unmistakably 19th century in taste, particularly the mount found on the lower stem, which is ‘Moresque’ in taste.
Duron exhibited at the international exhibitions in 1855 & 1867 (Paris - winning a gold medal each time) and in 1862 (London). He was patronized by the Rothschild family, the Marquess of Hertford and Alfred Morrison. Examples of his works are today preserved in the British Museum (agate ewer), the Musée d’Orsay, the Hermitage (lapis ewer), and the Kunstgewerbermuseum, Berlin (onyx tazza). Recently, an agate coupe appeared at auction, catalogued as ‘Viennese’, and was estimated to sell for between $4000 and 6000. It was, in fact, a lost piece by Charles Duron, and was fully documented, having been exhibited in 1867 and from the collection of Alfred Morrison. Although also unmarked, it brought a final price of $204,000.1
Apart from the superb technical quality, which alone supports a persuasive attribution to Duron, this tazza can be compared to both the d’Orsay tazza and Bonham’s coupe in the use of a very distinctive beaded floral device which appears at the top of the handle mounts. Similar also to the lapis piece is the design of the stem with gadrooning decoration of the stone on each foot.
1 Bonhams and Butterfields, Fine European Furntiure, Los Angeles, Auction Catalogue, September 10, 2007, lot 356.
Olivier Gabet, Charles Duron in 1867, The Burlington Magazine, June 2007, p. 393-99.
Daniel Alcouffe, Les Emailleurs Francais à l’Exposition Universelle de 1867, Antologia de Belle Arti, IV, no. 13/14 (1980), p. 102-21.